Almanac

Community - January 16, 2013

Woodside woman launches local food magazine

by Kate Daly

The words "Silicon Valley entrepreneur" usually refer to someone involved in high-tech start-ups. Meet the exception: Kerri Stenson of Woodside.

The 41 year-old mother of two is now on her third career. After practicing law and co-founding a small product business, she decided with "no experience" to become the owner, publisher and editor of a new quarterly magazine that just debuted last week: Edible Silicon Valley.

The magazine belongs to a network of 75 regional publications in North America that range from Edible San Francisco to Edible Manhattan and focus on local food, drink, and the folks behind them.

Innovators and leaders in the farming and food industries are profiled in the first issue of the quarterly magazine. "The whole concept of Edible is to be a community service to our providers of local food and drinks and the people who enjoy them," Ms. Stenson says.

A vegetarian herself for years, she believes in seeking out sustainable, organic and healthful foods, and sees the magazine as an extension of her own interest in buying seasonal and local produce. The magazine, she says, will have ongoing stories about gardens and where food comes from in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Ms. Stenson grew up on the Peninsula, attended Berkeley, and then Santa Clara University School of Law.

She worked as a securities lawyer at Franklin Templeton before taking a break to raise a family. In 1999, she and her husband, Erik, moved to Woodside, not far from her parents, Fred and Kathi de Grosz.

Ms. Stenson got involved in her children's school, serving as PTA president, vice-president of fundraising, and vice-president of community events at Woodside School. She will be heading up the May Day Parade for the seventh time this spring.

In 2007, she and another Woodside mom, Stephanie Ashworth, co-founded Olive Smart, a reusable shopping bag business that is currently on hold.

Last summer, Ms. Stenson says, "I was in my seventh year run of uber volunteering. ... I really wanted to get back to work, to get back to doing something meaningful."

Looking for guidance, she turned to an old friend from her Crystal Springs Uplands days who is a life coach, and that eventually led to Ms. Stenson buying the magazine.

"It has been trial by fire, just like law," she says. "It has been a very rewarding experience. ... People are passionate in the local food world, they are really inspired and helpful," she adds.

She has hired seasoned freelance writers headed by managing editor Susan Ditz. who grew up in a ranching family and has a background in journalism and public relations.

The magazine is printed on recycled paper in soy ink, and is filled with color photos and graphics on every page.

A subscription costs for $28 for four issues. Free copies are available at Whole Foods, Roberts Market, some farmers' markets and other locations listed on the website: ediblesiliconvalley.com.

A digital version of the magazine is posted online, as are recipes and related events.

Plans are to post a weekly blog, put out a newsletter, and launch an iPhone app. Ms. Stenson foresees sponsoring cooking classes, wine and food tastings, and other gatherings in the future.

The next issue is due out in early April.

Ms. Stenson admits it has been "nerve wracking" at times, but generally feels positive about her new venture. "I took a risk, it was a leap of faith, but I felt confident that this felt like the right thing to do, and ultimately it would turn into a profitable business."

Editor's note: Kate Daly contributes to the Almanac and is currently freelancing for Edible Silicon Valley, as well.

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